Opinion | A ‘Failed’ Policy on Israel and the Palestinians

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To the Editor:

“For Netanyahu and Israel, Political Presents From Trump Kept Coming” (news article, Nov. 22) evinces a nostalgia for the old U.S. foreign policy consensus on Israel and the Palestinians that is startling for those of us who watched the ineffectiveness of that consensus in real time.

What you characterize as President Trump’s “lavish” treatment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was something less personal and more political: a break from 40 years of U.S. policy that had tried to bring the Palestinian leadership to the negotiating table and keep it there productively.

A result of these 40 years of efforts was four peace offers the Palestinians rejected, as well as a revivified Hamas in Gaza, attacks in southern Lebanon, two intifadas and unending Palestinian insistence on the right of refugees’ descendants to return to Israel, a policy that would use demographics to destroy the Jewish state.

In the face of this history, President Trump’s insistence on holding the Palestinians to account for decades of intransigence and on looking beyond the Palestinian issue to the region writ large was not a “present” for Mr. Netanyahu. It was a nod to reality, a necessary booster shot for the economies of Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, and a signal that Palestinian intransigence cannot set the terms for an entire region.

We can only hope that the incoming Biden administration does not share your wistfulness for the failed foreign policy consensus that Mr. Trump has moved beyond.

Martin Peretz
New York
The writer was the editor in chief of The New Republic for 38 years.

Pregnant and Fearful in the Pandemic

To the Editor:

As an ob-gyn and a mother, I read “Undocumented and Pregnant, Afraid to See a Doctor” (news article, Nov. 23) with horror.

Denying prenatal care or frightening women to the point where they are not comfortable accessing it makes for sicker moms and babies, and higher costs for our health system.

In addition, it creates longstanding distrust of the health care system and other public institutions.

This is particularly dangerous as we think of the pandemic and the road to recovery, which will involve millions of people trusting institutions enough to seek care and eventually get vaccinated.

Ensuring access to safe and affordable health care is critical at every stage of life, but especially in pregnancy, childbirth and pandemics.

Laurie Zephyrin
New York
The writer leads the Commonwealth Fund’s work on women’s health, maternal mortality and racism in the health care system.

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